Manchester United make worthy champions
Published: 27.04.13 / Written by: David Gold
A Monday night title victory secured with a hat trick from their marquee summer signing, Robin van Persie, was surely the ideal way that Alex Ferguson wanted his Manchester United side to secure this seasonís Premier League title.
In reality a 20th title was theirs since January and a 15 point gap opened up. United have been carefree since, holding off Manchester City the way a rampaging gazelle might keep a baby dog at bay.
So there was never really a doubt about the destination of this title. In many ways it has been coming as far back as the autumn, as City looked nothing like the side which had stormed to such a good start to the previous campaign, whilst United looked determined and were picking up big victories against direct rivals.
The result was the most one sided title race in recent memory. Not since United finished 18 points clear of Arsenal back in 2001 has the league been so uncompetitive. And United were worthy champions for what in many respects was a worthless league. Manchester City, the champions, went out of the Champions League at the group stage, as did Chelsea. Arsenal were the last participants in that competition from England, which says much about the lack of quality in the division.
That is not to take anything away from United. The weakness of their opponents may exaggerate their own qualities to some extent but that is not to suggest they are anything other than brilliant anyway in the way they have gone about winning the title with utter ruthlessness. Michael Carrick has been the heart of the side this season and the key to so much of their best play Ė spreading possession with elegance and accuracy throughout the season. He has really taken on the role that Paul Scholes played in previous seasons, the master of the pass from deep, helping United make rapid transitions from defence to attack in the blink of an eye.
Ferguson has mastered squad rotation for some time now and they have utilised that system to major effect. Ferguson has given key players rests at important times, constantly keeping his selection fresh. Some observers suggest his first eleven is not the best on paper in the league. That may be true, but even if it is true there is no doubt that they have the best squad. And this is ultimately a squad game, which requires top class squad players of the calibre of Javier Hernandez, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Ryan Giggs. Oh yes, Giggs. The 39 year old who will play on to the age of 40 next season is still going strong and is the only player to have been a part of each of Fergusonís 13 title triumphs at Old Trafford.
Some noted the three generations who shared in the success on Monday against Aston Villa. At one end was Giggs, the other Jones, with Carrick somewhere in between. Symbolising Fergusonís perpetual ability to rebuild and reconstruct successful teams. We can be sure this is not his last either.